11 February 2020 | ulicknormanowen
If I had to choose a movie which epitomizes the joie de vivre of the French youth ,just after the hard times of WW2, without a moment's hesitation ,I would go for Jacques Becker 's masterpiece .
Now these youngsters wage a war against a stilted society ( the fathers and mothers find it hard to realize that "their sons and daughters are beyond their command" )Their parents left them a row to hoe,and they do hoe it.
Not only this youth displays a rage to live ,but the actors are also a brand new generation:Daniel Gélin is the stand-out , bursting with vitality, enthusiasm and hoping against hope even when his mates want to let him down (the way the talks to him would convince the wimpishest of the wimps); Pierre Trabaud ,in spite of his hangdog look, makes no bones when it comes to steal meat from his dad butcher's store( to swap it for gas;reminiscence of the occupation days ,probably) );Maurice Ronet in his pre-"Plein Soleil " ("purple noon") days plays jazz on his trumpet every night for dancers bubbling with excitement.Jazz was then a rebellious music .
The precedent generation was dreaming of the island in the sun,this one does not dream : they want to make their dream come true : an expedition to study the pigmies 'life ; it's hard to find funds and ,although most of them come from the bourgeoisie , they cannot get any help from their family: they have to manage :hence their discouragement .
Only one thing bothers me : if the girls favor a stage actress career over the straight and narrow way of marriage , they are not even considered for the expedition and are relegated to wave them goodbye and to provide the love interest before they (the boys) are off to see the world;and however ,Madame Margaret Mead began her anthropological studies out in the field at 23!It was well before our story began .
Filmed on location in the streets of Paris , "rendez-vous de Juillet" ,one of Becker's masterpieces,is also perhaps the most optimistic work in a filmography which ,by large ,is not.